When you’re down, it’s hard to get up.
This is not a post about prioritizing employees’ mental health, though we’re totally in favor of that.
This isn’t even so much a post about work-life balance, though we’re all about that, too.
Really, this is a post simply about getting up.
The Most Dangerous Time of the Year
After Thanksgiving — after Halloween, really — we head into one of the most delicious times of the year. Gingerbread houses, cookie exchanges, and stockings stuffed with goodies are everywhere. Plus, with all the visiting and socializing, add on more sweets and savory goodies, all your favorite drinks, and it’s no wonder we’re overcome.
I hear you — some of you, anyway — pointing out that there are plenty of chances to be active year round, including festive 5ks like a “Turkey Trot” or “Run with Santa”… You’re so right! Those can be fun ways for families and friends to get motivated and get moving, no matter the weather. If you’re in it, win it!
But let’s be real. For many of us, the holidays are about pigging out and vegging out and chilling out — not so much about strict goals and guidelines for nutrition and exercise.
Who left these cookies in the break room?
And if you think this delightful stagnation only takes place outside of work hours, come on. You know how it works. Holiday parties. Leftovers you just can’t keep at home — for your own safety. Presents and cookies and those beautifully wrapped festive chocolates…
Plus, with so much extracurricular excitement happening and the push to get more done in a shorter timeframe, it’s hard to even imagine stuffing more into your schedule. The workday is finite, after all, and work so often comes first.
But let’s not blame it all on the holidays! In general, our increasingly passive lifestyles are the underlying issue. The World Health Organization says that globally, 1 in 4 adults is not active enough, and that insufficient physical activity is one the leading risk factors for death worldwide. Yikes!
A few months ago, with many of these same ideas in mind, we implemented #SoGoGetUp, a daily reminder to ourselves to be active. We have a dedicated Slack channel to encourage each other, as well as a self-appointed facilitator each day.
If all goes well, our facilitator sends out a note announcing the #SoGoGetUp time of the day, then everyone who’s interested and available jumps up at the right time and heads out. We’re lucky enough to have both indoor and outdoor space that allows us to get up and move — no excuses, no matter the weather!
Then, depending on the facilitator of the day, we might do yoga, some focused stretching exercises, light aerobic activity, or a quick walk. It’s nice to get some new ideas from each other — whether it’s from personal experience or a quick YouTube search! — and the variety keeps it engaging.
Generally, we wrap up with a brisk walk, which allows us the opportunity for a casual catch-up. While some conversations are certainly work related, participants generally take the opportunity to refocus on something else during this time.
At most, these sessions take about 10-15 minutes, which really isn’t that much time. We could easily spend that much time getting a cup of coffee or chatting around the proverbial water cooler, but #SoGoGetUp encourages us to stop, reset, and boost our physical, mental, emotional, and social health.
Okay, you’re right. It doesn’t always work out that way. Sometimes we’re too busy, sometimes we forget, and sometimes we just stay down. But we’re working on it.
I’m not saying that this is the right program for you and your employees, but this might be the perfect time of year to build a better understanding of employee well-being and figure out what will work for your team. SHRM and other organizations offer great suggestions to get started, but only your team knows what will really stick.
Happy holidays! Here’s wishing you a little extra get-up. 🙂